MPs clash over Bunyoro University establishment

The Hoima District woman Member of Parliament, Ms Harriet Busiinge Mugenyi (with a microphone) addresses people who had gathered at the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom annual Empango celebrations at the Kingdom Parliament Gardens in Hoima City on Sunday, June 11, 2023. Ms Asinansi Nyakato Kamanda, the Hoima City woman Member of Parliament (L) listens. (Image: Samuel Baguma/Kazi-njema News)

Members of Parliament (MPs) from Bunyoro have clashed over the “sure” start of Bunyoro University next financial year.

While at the 29th Coronation anniversary of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom annual festival – Empango, the Deputy Chairperson for Bunyoro Parliamentary Caucus, Ms Harriet Busiinge Mugenyi, assured the public that all was done and it was no more an issue to demand from the central government.

Ms Busiinge who is also the Hoima district Woman MP credited the NRM government for “doing wonders to the people of Bunyoro” in relation to public service and development.

She also commended the Bunyoro legislators in the 11th parliament for exhibiting the best ever working relationship that is reportedly bearing fruits in addressing the challenges of the region.

Audio: Busiinge on Bunyoro university (Runyoro/Rutooro)
The Hoima City woman Member of Parliament, Ms Asinansi Nyakato Kamanda, speaks at the annual Empango celebrations at the Bunyoro Kitara Parliament Gardens in Hoima City on Sunday, June 11, 2023. (Image: Samuel Baguma/Kazi-njema News)

Just a few speakers after her, the Hoima city woman Member of Parliament, Ms Asinansi Nyakato Kamanda, delivered a heart breaking message about the long awaited Bunyoro public university to the same audience.

She expressed doubt that it could start soon without budgetary allocation as the next financial year draws near.

In her argument, like it happened in the ending financial year, the university is not in the 2023/24 national budget which is a clear indicator that it might again be an empty pledge to the people of Bunyoro.

Ms Nyakato, however, requested the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Robinah Nabanja, who is also the Woman MP for Kakumiro district to influence the parliament to have the Bunyoro university issue on the Order Paper for debate and passing as the only hope to secure funding and have it operational.

“The University cannot get funding to start unless it is budgeted for through the parliament.  You know the process involved in establishing a university and tertiary institution as embedded in the University and Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 and I know you – the Prime Minister can influence this when we return to parliament,” argued Ms Nyakato.

Audio: Nyakato on Bunyoro university (Runyoro/Rutooro)

During his turn to speak, the Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development who is also the parliamentary representative for Buyanja County in Kibaale district, Mr Matia Kasaija cum member of Bunyoro Parliamentary Caucus, reaffirmed that the job was all done and starting next year, Bunyoro university will no longer be a topic of discussion.

Audio: Kasaija on Bunyoro university (Runyoro/Rutooro)
Uganda’s Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja, addresses people at the Empango celebration of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom at the Kingdom Parliament Gardens in Hoima City on Sunday, June 11, 2023. (Image: Samuel Baguma/Kazi-njema News)

Ahead of reading President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s speech, Uganda’s Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabanja, blasted Ms Nyakato accusing her of confusing the public with the university issue “seeking popularity to appease voters.”

She warned her against contradicting the stand of Bunyoro Parliamentary Caucus over an allegedly previously discussed and concluded issue.

“You should never repeat it. This should be the last time. You can talk to me if there is a query,”
 she said.

Audio: Nabanja responds to Nyakatov on Bunyoro university (Runyoro/Rutooro)

The request for a public university in Bunyoro has lived for decades across regimes. The latest good news was President Museveni’s acceptance to have it started when he was approached by a delegation of Bunyoro law makers and kingdom officials at the beginning of last year.

The issue of the university starting at the end of the 2021/22 Financial Year was as controversial as it is when Financial Year 2022/23 is ending.

Bunyoro and Karamoja are the only Ugandan regions that have lived across regimes without a public university – a factor blamed for low education standards and poverty.

Banyoro analysts have been attributing lack of a public university in Bunyoro to the colonial history that purportedly laid a strategy of keeping Bunyoro backward as a punishment for the rebellion led by Omukama Cwa Kabalega.

They said the subsequent governments implemented the colonial strategy but the NRM government says it was not and it is committed to develop Bunyoro.

Whether the university starts operating in the Financial Year 2023/2024 or not, time will tell.

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